Saturday 19 March 2016. Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Upon arrival in Delhi an included transfer will take you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at your own leisure.
This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi, taking in the Red Fort, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque and Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation in Old Delhi, and the Rajpath and India Gate in New Delhi. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specialising in Indian cuisine.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast, Dinner
Delhi - Jaipur. This morning we drive to Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan, affectionately known as the Pink City because Maharaja Ram Singh had the entire old city painted pink in 1876. We enjoy a tour of the regal City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast
Very early this morning there is the opportunity to sail over the lofy hilltop forts and regal palaces of Jaipur in a hot air balloon, on our Balloon Over Jaipur Bolt-on. We then travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort where we enjoy a tour of the fort's well-preserved interior and grounds. Reaching the fort is an experience in itself, as we ride up the road in princely style abroad Indian elephants - subject to regulations and availability. After we stop at a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing before returning to Jaipur. Spend the rest of the day at your own leisure.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast
Jaipur - Bharatpur. It's an early start today as the festivities of Holi bring thousands of people out onto the streets in a dazzling display of colour and good cheer. Celebrated every year in February or March, the ancient Hindu festival of Holi originated as a celebration of the end of winter and beginning of spring in honour of Prahlada, who was protected from the flames by Vishnu when he was tricked to his near death by his father King Hiranyakashipu.
Today Holi is a time when Indians across the nation gather together with family, friends and neighbours to throw powder bombs, fire water pistols and splash coloured water as they run through the streets. Shops and businesses close down for the day, and on the eve of the celebrations a bonfire is held to remember the story of Prahlada and Vishnu.
While this is the mostly believed story, the myths and legends that surround Holi differ around the country, but the basic principle remains the same. Holi is meant to symbolise the triumph of good over evil, the importance of love and of happiness, and supports the formation of new friendships.
After hotel check-in and time for lunch, you can pull up a chair and watch the Holi celebrations taking place out on the lawn. For those wanting to get involved we'll be providing white kurta pyjamas for you to wear and organic colours for you to throw. In this game of cat and mouse, stealth and the art of surprise will serve you well. After a bombardment of powder bombs and shower of water in every imaginable colour we'll hatch an escape plan to Keoladeo Ghana National Park for a late afternoon bicycle rickshaw ride and bird-watching.
Overnight: Bharatpur | Breakfast, Dinner
Bharatpur - Agra. En route to Agra we visit the ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, which has been deserted for over four centuries after it was allegedly abandoned due to a lack of water. Upon arrival in Agra we visit the impressive Agra Fort before touring the legendary Taj Mahal. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in fond memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal has been described as the most extravagant monument to love ever built and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols.
Overnight: Agra | Breakfast
Agra - Delhi. After breakfast we return to Delhi, the latter part of the afternoon is free for you to relax or independently explore more of Delhi. The following day, Sat 26 March 2016, our tour concludes after breakfast. Goodbye India! We transfer you to the airport for your onward international flight.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast x 2
Extend your stay with a great 3 day/ 2 night Kerala backwaters bolt-on. Relax, swim, soak up the sun as you float through the shallow palm fringed waters. In the evening enjoy freshly cooked meals under a million stars!
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
The grand lobby of the Picadilly is a perfect introduction to this elegant luxury property. Rooms are bright, airy and furnished in a sophisticated and contemporary fashion. Staff are helpful, attentive and go above and beyond to make sure your stay is a memorable and happy one. Dining at popular Zune and contemporary Twenty-9 is highly recommended. Located in the west of town, close to the airport. Access to the rest of the city is very simple with the Janakpuri West Metro station just next door.
The beautiful heritage style Mandawa Haveli is a fine example of typical Rajasthan architecture - set in terraced gardens with pretty courtyards. All rooms are well appointed with intricately carved wooden beds and king-size royal portraits. An evening spent enjoying a lavish Rajasthani dinner in front of a traditional folk dance is highly recommended. Well located in the heart of Jaipur city on Sansar Chandra Road, just a few minute’s drive from the Palace of the Winds.
Set amongst 2 acres of landscaped gardens, the Udai Vilas Palace is a traditional hotel taking guests back to a bygone era. Guest rooms are spacious and well equipped with comfortable beds and large windows. The hotel is famous for its barbecue nights and Rajasthani Folklore evenings. On an evening why not grab a nice cold beer and sit by the pool - a great way to end the day! Well located near the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary - great for keen twichers!
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in India, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.